Branstad administration launches new blog focusing on education

March 08, 2011

Gov. Terry E. Branstad today announced the launch of a new website focusing on his plan to restore Iowa’s schools as best in the country. The site,, will be maintained by Gov. Branstad’s special assistant for education, Linda Fandel.

“Restoring world-class education in Iowa is the challenge that Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds and I seek to achieve,” said Branstad. “Linda’s blog will be an excellent resource for Iowans interested in following our administration’s progress towards achieving this goal.”

The goal of the blog is to have a conversation about how Iowa schools can once again be the envy of the nation, and assure Iowa’s young people are globally competitive. This is a top priority for Gov. Branstad and Lt.Gov. Reynolds. The Iowa Education Summit they will host July 25-26 in Des Moines is intended to build a consensus about how to do that.

In her blog, Fandel will examine developments shaping education reform across the state, the nation and the world. She’ll highlight outstanding work going on in Iowa schools, as well as places improvement is needed. And she’ll link to interesting news, publications and other education blogs.

“Iowa has a strong foundation to build upon,” said Fandel. “Many outstanding teachers and principals work in schools across the state, and Iowa communities have long been committed to giving children the best possible education. But we have been complacent, and need to raise academic expectations.”

Iowa used to be a top-performing state on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, but has dropped toward the middle in the rankings. In fourth-grade reading, for example, Iowa youngsters were fifth in 1992, with an average score of 225. No state had a significantly higher score. Yet in 2009, Iowa fourth-graders placed 27th, with an average score that had slipped to 221. And 14 states had significantly higher scores.

“Iowa schools can be world-class if we adopt the changes that are the hallmarks of high-performing school systems, starting with getting a great teacher in every classroom,” said Fandel. “We owe it to our children and grandchildren to find the political will to do this.”

Fandel’s education website was built by Iowa Interactive.  Iowa Interactive also partnered with the Branstad-Reynolds administration to build Gov. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Reynolds’ websites.

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